SimMummy: A Mummification Simulation
The lesson plan formerly known as "The Fruity Pharaohs"

What is a SimMummy?

That depends on who you ask. Students will tell you that a SimMummy is a recently-deceased Egyptian king that has been properly mummified to ensure an eternal afterlife. To people with less active imaginations, it's a potato-headed orange that has been preserved by drying.

In this simulation, kids participate in all the stages of an ancient Egyptian mummification, from removal of the organs to placing the mummy in the tomb, and they reenact these funerary customs the same way (or extremely close, anyway!) that the Egyptians did it. While pretending to be ancient embalmers, masons, scribes, artisans, and mourners, students will:

  • Remove the organs from the body
  • Clease the body with spices and simulated wine
  • Dry the body and organs in simulated natron
  • Sculpt canopic jars, amulets, and shabtis for the mummy
  • Create a copy of The Book of the Dead
  • Make a senet game board for the mummy's afterlife entertainment
  • Build a coffin from simulated cartonnage
  • Make a funeral mask
  • Decorate the coffin and mask with paints created using Egyptian techniques
  • Wrap the mummy in bandages
  • Participate in a funeral procession

Many supplies are needed. Some are one-time purchases, others may last a few years, and some need to be replaced yearly. You may want to send a letter home prior to the beginning of the unit asking parents to donate materials. So do some price checking and add what you need to next year's budget!

Like with any lesson, this one requires preparation. Read through it all carefully, and e-mail me if you have any questions.

 

Teach about mummification first...

Start by having your students read our All About Mummies pages to get background knowledge. You can either do this in a computer lab or print the pages and photocopy them so that each student has their own copy.

...Then start embalming!

The second part is when the simulation begins. For the next several weeks, your students will prepare a "dead" pharaoh for the afterlife by reenacting several positions of Egyptian society, starting with the mummy-makers who preserved the corpse.

Ready to make mummies? Then GET STARTED!


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